What is Performance Criticism?


  • Reframes the biblical materials in the context of oral/scribal cultures of Judaism and early Christianity, aspects of which include the performance event, performer, audience, context, and text.
  • Embraces many methods, including Historical Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Form and Genre Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism, Rhetorical Criticism, Textual Criticism, Orality Criticism, Speech Act Theory, Social-Science Criticism, Linguistic Criticism, The Art of Translation, Ideological Criticism, Theater Studies, and Oral Interpretation Studies.
  • Constructs scenarios of ancient performances.
  • Learns from contemporary performances of these materials through the translation, preparation, and performance of a text for group discussion of the performance event.
  • Reinterprets biblical materials accordingly.

For more information see the articles by David Rhoads:

pdf Performance Criticism: an Emerging Discipline, Part I (243 KB)

pdf Performance Criticism: an Emerging Discipline, Part II (271 KB)

and the video by Eugene Botha:

Orality, Print Culture and Biblical Interpretation Video